The First Waco Horror
The Lynching of Jesse Washington and the Rise of the NAACP
Texas History - African American Studies
6 x 9, 264 pp.
24 b&w photos., Map.
Pub Date: 01/18/2006
Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University
  paper
Price:        $22.95 s

978-1-58544-544-8

Published by Texas A&M University Press
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The First Waco Horror

The Lynching of Jesse Washington and the Rise of the NAACP

By Patricia Bernstein

Patricia Bernstein, who holds a degree in American studies from Smith College, has managed her own public relations firm in Houston for the past twenty years. Her articles have been published in Smithsonian Magazine, Texas Monthly, Cosmopolitan, and other magazines. The First Waco Horror is her second book.

What Readers Are Saying:

“The topic is compelling and important. . . . a page-turner, indeed an often horrifying one . . . it has great potential to greatly expanding our understanding of race, racial violence, and racial politics in the early twentieth century.”--Cary D. Wintz, Texas Southern University

“The topic is compelling and important. . . . a page-turner, indeed an often horrifying one . . . it has great potential to greatly expanding our understanding of race, racial violence, and racial politics in the early twentieth century.” --Cary D. Wintz, Texas Southern University

“Personalizing this tragedy puts a face and a name on an historic and horrific event that must not be forgotten. An important piece of historical research, well written and powerful.” --Morris Dees, Co-Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center

“Patricia Bernstein tells a tale that is long overdue, and tells it extremely well. This story is riveting, tragic, and an altogether indispensable part of American history.” --Kweisi Mfume, President and CEO, National Association for the Advancement of

“In the long record of lynching in the United States, the extralegal execution of Jesse Washington stands out. Because of the almost indescribable violence of the huge mob in Waco, the lynching became a notorious symbol of American barbarism in a purportedly modern city and age. Bernstein’s exceptionally well told account of the lynching and of the activists who exposed and denounced it ranks as one of the best accounts of a lynching ever published. Especially remarkable is her talent at tracing the terrible toll of this human tragedy on its victims, its perpetrators, and their community.” --W. Fitzhugh Brundage, William B. Umstead Professor of History, University of

“The lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas, on May 15, 1916, became a cause celebre for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in its early campaign to eradicate such acts of extralegal mob violence. Historians and general readers alike should be indebted to Patricia Bernstein whose dogged research provides us with the most detailed narrative that we are ever likely to have of this unfortunate but all too common event that scarred the soul of a community and a nation in the early twentieth century.” --James M. SoRelle, professor of History, Baylor University and author of “The

“It will send shivers up your back, but it is necessary reading.” --Mexia Daily News

“For a blow-by-blow account of the events of May 15, 1916, Bernstein’s book is the place to go. She unearths hideous details, such as how children pried the teeth from Jesse Washington’s severed head and sold them on the streets. . . . But the real appeal of the book lies in the way she paints the picture of that community, with vivid portraits of local characters . . .” --Waco Tribune-Herald

“Bernstein’s book renders a vivid account of a sordid episode in Texas history.” --Texas Jewish Post

“The result focuses a strong spotlight on a dark and all-but-forgotten chapter of Texas history.” --Austin American-Statesman

“The author examines the horrific 1916 lynching and murder of a young black boy in Waco and how it influenced the NAACP’s antilynching campaign. “Especially remarkable is [Bernstein’s] talent at tracing the terrible toll of this human tragedy on its victims, its perpetrators, and their community.” --W. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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